tv The Ed Show MSNBC December 8, 2012 12:00am-1:00am PST
freedom, liberalism usually wins out. it can take some time. the important rights do take time. time for the right to settle into the country's conscience. it took time for abolition of slavery and honest reflection out of which comes a freer, more liberal america. that's the way it's been and here i think the way it will be. so keep the faith. and that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "politicsnation" with al sharpton starts right now. holding all the cards. this is "the ed show." let's get to work. the clock is ticking. christmas is coming. the goose is getting fat. why are you not bringing this to the floor? >> an urgent message from nancy pelosi. but it's casual friday for speaker boehner.
>> this isn't a progress report bauds there's no progress to report. >> today's news, speaker boehner and president obama will be the only two at the table to make a deal. i'll ask emanuel cleaver if boehner can get it done. 33 months of private sector job growth. now is the time to start spending on jobs. david cay johnston is here. the filibuster is more than an embarrassing blunder. bernie sanders explains why. the right to work in michigan has ignited a fire storm with workers. we'll have the latest on rick snider's race to the bottom. and breaking news from the supreme court. there will be a decision on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. law professor jonathan terly has all the details. >> thanks for watching. john boehner isn't having a lot of fun this holiday season. president obama continues his
pressure campaign to pass the tax cuts. the president is also taking time to be fesive. john boehner doesn't sound so merry. >> no progress report because there's no progress to report. when it comes to the fis e call cliff that's threatening our economy and threatening jobs, the white house has wasted another week. >> the phone call was pleasant, but was just more of the same. the conversations that the staff had yesterday, just more of the same. it's time for the president if he's serious to come back to us with a counteroffer. >> even though the president apparently designed the negotiating sessions at boehner's request. according to "the new york times," boehner insisted the talks include only himself and the president of the united states. boehner wanted senate democrats and nancy pelosi out of the discussions. democratic senator dick durbin told the times this is now the speaker and the president working this through. democratic leaders say they are satisfied with the briefings that they continue to receive.
nancy pelosi seems perfectly happy putting pressure on the republicans. >> why are we not here to pass the middle income tax cut? why are we not here to even debate the middle income tax cut? could it be because the republicans have holding the middle income tax cuts as they have all along hostage to tax cuts for the wealthy. >> the effort continued today. joe biden had lunch with middle class americans who will see their taxes go up if republicans refuse to extend 19% of the tax cuts before the end of the year. >> folks, this is not hard. this ain't rocket science. it would take 15 minutes from
the time the decision is made by the speaker of the house to pass and make permanent the middle class tax cut. the president would probably have me spin up to the hill to bring the bill down for him to sign. it can be done like that. it is not complicated. >> vice president joe biden did not waiver on the white house's position. it's all about the top tax rates. >> every serious economist i have spoken to, left, right, and center, knows you have to do something about revenue and rates. you can't get there from here without affecting people at this table. or fooling around with the mortgage deductions. you can't get there without the rates being affected. >> the white house is not backing down on rates. the president sent his legislative affairs director to meet with the republicans on the hill. he told him the white house is not moving on rates. a source close to the negotiations said once republicans move on rates they
can get a deal very quickly. that sounds like the president is ready to move. the only person who has shown any movement on taxes is john boehner. the speaker angered conservative when is he said that the republican offer of new revenue would come from the wealthiest americans. conservatives don't even want boehner to say the word "revenue." justin am ish that was booted. >> conservative pressure on boehner was mounting. the red state is drumming up a campaign to depose boehner. they even created a sample letter for people to send to their congressional members. it urges lawmakers to get rid of the speaker. there are no good outcomes for this man named john boehner in these negotiations at this hour. if he holds out against a deal, he will be blamed for tax going up on all americans. if he strikes a deal with the president on tax rates, he could
lose his job. the last time john boehner had a one-on-one negotiation with president obama the rank and file republicans rejected boehner's deal. it's hard to see how boehner will get a different outcome this time around. eric cantor looking right over his shoulder. you could make the argument that cantor is the big player who is not in the room. because if boehner does a deal with the president and goes back and tries to get the republicans to vote for it in the house and cantor says no, where are we? the president, calm, cool and collected and remembering what this election is all about. get your cell phones out. tonight's question. the president, calm, cool and collected and remembering what this election is all about. get your cell phones out. tonight's question. will republicans punish e speaker boehner for trying to work with the president? text a for yes, b to no to 622639.
we'll bring the results later on in the show. joining me tonight is congressman emanuel cleaver from missouri. great to have you with us. >> good to be with you. >> i'd like to talk about the congressional black caucus if i could. they have been very, very strong about do not touch the entitlements, we're not going to move on this. so you have the president not moving on rates. you have your caucus moving on entitlements. although you said the democratic leadership -- you said you could support means testing for medicare. what does that mean and how far are you willing to go. >> first of all, social security is off the table. there are not only 42 members in the congressional black caucus who would not vote for a deal that included social security, but the majority of our democratic caucus. social security has not distributed to the deficit. it's just irresponsible to even
put social security in a discussion as we are trying to get a deal. medicare can, i think, be massaged in terms of means testing. with the upper income individuals paying more or sometimes all of their medical expenses, it makes no sense for the government to pay medicare costs for someone earning $700,000 a year. so i think we can do some means testing. but by no means am i saying it should be low enough so our elderly and poorist americans are going to pay for the deficit. but we want a deal. and keep in mind, i think this is very important. if the bush tax cuts are expired, as they will be, just as sure as today is friday, they are gone, that generates $950 billion toward the deficit over a ten-year period. we'd set aside $1.2 trillion.
we're almost there. and if you do means testing on medicare, we make it. >> well, the republicans would never go along with that kind of means testing because that would hit the wealthier americans. that's who they are going to protect. how would that work out? >> what i would hope is if republicans fight a deal like that because they want to protect the wealthiest, i think the american public is going to see through that and they are going to become vocal. the mail we're getting from all over the country suggests that the american public says that the upper end tax rates must go up and that's going to happen. it's going to happen. everybody needs to just get ready for it. >> boehner says he won't go down that road. we're still at the stalemate. i feel like i'm doing monday night's newscast on a friday night. there's been no movement. >> there hasn't been a lot of movement. and in some ways i feel sorry for the speaker. he's in a really bad situation. >> is he really? is he really looking over his
shoulder? is he in a no-win situation? >> it's very, very difficult, i think. and if he strikes a deal with the president, i think he's going to need democratic support to get legislation through. i don't think that they are going to have enough republicans to pull him through. and so they are going to need us. we are not going to go there if they are including entitlements. >> are you okay with leadership being shut out of these talks and it's just down to a one-on-one with boehner and the president? >> i'm okay with it. the president has been clear. we're all proud of the fact that he's standing tough. i am a little concerned, though, just because i think we're going to be needed for the vote. and it's easier to get us if nancy pelosi has been involved and she knows, i think, even
more intimately than the president how we feel, particularly about the so-called entitlements. >> that's what's interesting here. there's a lot of controversy in washington about how the white house, the president himself, is somewhat disconnected from people on the hill. and it would seem to me that nancy pelosi knows her caucus as good as anybody in american history. she's very strong and very on point about where her caucus is and can bring her caucus with her when the time comes. >> i can assure you she does. >> let's get back to rates for a moment. vice president biden suggested there's wiggle room over rates. here it is. >> theoretically we can negotiate how far up, but we think the top rate should go to 39.6%.
>> but that's not in concrete. what rate would be acceptable to you and house democrats? >> that sounds pretty good to e me. however, i think if we fall to the clinton era tax rates, i'm okay with that. i think that e we ought to have some wiggle room on the tax rates because i think the country wants us to compromise. so there's compromise space there, but make no mistake, we're not going to compromise away the upper end tax rates. that's on the table. it will stay on the table. that's what the american people are asking for. >> congressman, great to have you with us tonight on "the ed show." appreciate your time. remember to answer tonight's question. share your thoughts on twitter and on facebook. we always encourage you and want
unemployment hits a four had-year low, but republican obstruction is keeping the country from creates more jobs. we'll bring you the latest numbers and i'll ask david cay johnston why now is the time to focus on job creation. and the supreme court will hear two cases on same-sex marriage. we'll get the details from jonathan turly later on in this hour. share your thoughts on facebook and twitter. we're coming right back.
welcome back to "the ed show." we have seen a lot of obstructionism from the republicans. trying to stop progress has z how they do business. latest move from senate minority leader mitch mcconnell just might take the cake. he threatened to filibuster his own bill. mcconnell proposed legislation to give the president the authority to raise the debt ceiling. under the plan, congress would need a two-thirds majority to stop him. it's a proposal that president obama likes. so why would mitch mcconnell propose such a bill? to embarrass the democrats. he wanted to prove that the democrats didn't have the votes for the legislation. harry reid called his bluff and objected to putting the bill up for a vote, but after discussing it with his democratic members he got the support he needed and had a change of heart.
claire mccaskill was priding when mcconnell objected to voting on the bill. >> is there an objection to the original request? >> objection is heard. i got whiplash. >> very strange. >> dick durbin reacted to mcconnell's move moments later. >> so this may be a moment in senate history when a senator made a proposal and when given an opportunity for a vote, filibustered his own proposal. i think we have now reached a new spot in the history of the senate we have never seen before. >> let's turn to bernie sanders. i'm laughing at it too, senator. this just goes to show either winging it big time. they don't have a plan other than to get in the way. what's your response to what unfolded on the floor and what we can look forward to in the future? >> i think dick durbin was right. in a time of dysfunctionality, this probably takes the cake when you filibuster your own probably. but the bottom line, this country, as you well know, ed, faces enormous problems. we have people trying to find work. we're trying to deal with global warming and the tremendous problems that that's it going to bring to our planet. we have this absurd citizens united situation and billions of dollars coming into the campaign from wealthy people.
a whole lot of issues that have to be dealt with. time after time after time in an probably. but the bottom line, this country, as you well know, ed, faces enormous problems. we have people trying to find work. we're trying to deal with global warming and the tremendous problems that that's it going to bring to our planet. we have this absurd citizens united situation and billions of dollars coming into the campaign from wealthy people. a whole lot of issues that have to be dealt with. time after time after time in an unprecedented way. republicans are saying the majority is not going to rule. you're going to need 60 votes. we're going to filibuster. that just eats up the clock. it makes it very difficult for us to do the work that the american people have sent us to washington to do. >> will these tactics continue? these rule changes that the democrats are talking about and
making the move on, will it change the climate? >> i certainly hope we will succeed with very serious filibuster reform. if we don't, we're going to continue to be tied up in knots. we want to create a situation where the minority has the right to explain to the american people why they feel the way they feel. on the other hand, the majority in this country has the right to rule. has the right to make decisions. obama won the election. we won seats in the house. the american people want action and it is undemocratic. it is un-american when a small minority can deny the majority from going forward. >> and senator, the fiscal situation they are dealing with in washington, it doesn't look like we have made a lot of progress. what are your thoughts on that? >> well, it shouldn't just be the speaker and the president. it should be the voice of the american people. it should be the senate and should be the house. on these issues, ed, the election mattered. and poll after poll tells us the same thing. not a lot of debate but that's what the american people want. >> that's not getting through to speaker boehner. >> and that's why the president and the democrats have to stand tall. the democrats must not snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory.
we have the american people on our side. we won the election. poll after poll tells us. the american people understand president and the speaker alone in negotiations. what are your thoughts on that? >> well, it shouldn't just be the speaker and the president. it should be the voice of the american people. it should be the senate and should be the house. on these issues, ed, the election mattered. and poll after poll tells us the same thing. not a lot of debate but that's what the american people want. >> that's not getting through to speaker boehner. he just will not move on rates. >> well, that's right. and that is why the president and the democrats have got to stand tall. the democrats must not snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. we have the american people on our side. we won the election. poll after poll tells us. the american people understand that the wealthiest people are
doing phenomenally well. their tax rates are low. meanwhile, the middle class is disappearing, and they're in a lot of trouble. yes, the wealthy and large corporations must be asked to play a significant role in deficit reduction. yes, we must not cut social security, medicare, medicaid, education. that's not bernie sanders' point of view that is clearly what the american people believe. and the president, democrats have got to hold firm and when they do, it will finally be the republicans that come to the table rather than just the democrats caving in, as has been the case in the past. >> all right, senator bernie sanders, appreciate your time on this friday night. thank you so much for joining us. coming up, the fight over the fiscal cliff is putting american jobs at risk. one of these congressional members is lying about the problem. we'll use the newest job numbers to get to the truth next. and republicans in michigan are ramming through antiunion legislation and hurting middle class americans in the process.
dangerous. the good news, though, the latest employment numbers came out this morning. the economy added 146,000 jobs in the month of november. the unemployment rate hit a four-year low. it inched down to 7.7%. here's the bad news. america lost another 7,000 manufacturing jobs last month. overall these job numbers are better than analysts predicted, but republicans refuse to compromise on policies which will bring back even more jobs next year. they are risking our nation's economic recovery. here's house speaker john boehner's today. >> the risk the president wants us to take, increasing tax rates will hit many small businesses that produce 60 to 70% of the new jobs in our country. that's the whole issue here. >> once again. it's all theory from boehner. no guarantee on that. but democratic leader nancy pelosi says the problem goes
beyond the fiscal cliff debate. >> our economy is moving forward, but it could be growing at a faster rate. the republican leadership had taken up and passed some of president obama's job initiatives including the american jobs act and had passed the middle income tax cut. >> so let's cut to the chase. one of those congressional members is lying. either the republicans are right on cutting taxes on small business also add jobs, or the president's stimulus policies are fuelling the economic recovery in this country. joining me tonight to sort out the facts, david cay johnston, pulitzer prize winning journalist and author of "the fine print. let's start with the job growth. unemployment hit rock bottom near the beginning of the -- under the bush administration. you can see this right here. and this of course the changing the color here is when president obama took over in january of
'09. who is responsible for this turnaround? >> absolutely the president. and it would be a better turnaround if the republicans had allowed a bigger stimulus. we'd have many more jobs. >> you'd make the case we didn't spend enough on the economy? >> not only did we not spend enough, but we wasted 40% of it on tax cuts for small business, which is inherently savings and not stimulus. it was a real policy mistake. >> so considering where we are, and now 33 months of private sector job growth, is this historic? >> it's certainly we're going in the right direction, ed. we're not creating as many jobs as we need for the population growth, but it's astonishing we're recovering the way we are and if the republicans would stop creating the uncertainty, remember the uncertainty by not making a deal, we'd see the numbers improving very dramatically. >> well, let me ask you in terms
of the stability. i mean, these are numbers. >> right. >> does it look like historic? no, it doesn't. but when we were down here, we were on the verge of tipping over. our whole economic situation, our whole financial situation in that regard. >> obama has managed a very bad hand very, very well. he was dealt an incredibly bad hand and it's surprising it didn't get a lot worse than it did. >> okay. this shows the overall unemployment rate under president obama's administration. which of the president's policies have helped the most in this? >> well, very crucial to this has been his decision to get congress to extend unemployment benefits, surprisingly. because people, when they have that money, are spending it back in the economy. remember, every 50th person you meet statistically only has food stamps today as income. and that's the result of these years of the republicans policies. so having unemployment and >> send thing unemployment benefits next year would be very important to continue to bring this number down and have businesses hire more people, because they have customers with money in their pockets to buy
products and services. >> this is what could have happened if congress failed to pass the recovery act. the center on budget and policy priorities says that we've added almost $1 million more jobs because of the stimulus package. why are the republicans fighting stimulus spending now? why? is it they don't want to see president obama succeed or do they real hi believe that spending more money is not the right thing to do? >> i think both of those are true. they do not want him to succeed. there's no question about that. they are certain spending more money is wrong. we really need to be spending a lot more money, fixing up our infrastructure and creating jobs and making the economy run better. but they're trapped, ed. they have sold the public on the same idea that we once had sold to us that the earth was the center of the universe.
and everything evolved around it. it's dogma. they can't abandon their dogma. >> you heard the sound bite earlier. john boehner says cutting taxes on small businesses will help create jobs. is he right? >> no. nobody creates a job to get a tax cut. you create jobs when you have more customers with more money to spend on more products and services. it's getting money flowing through the bottom 90% of the economy. that will result in more jobs. >> we're seeing record levels of long-term unemployment right now. this is the angst in the economy. even though it's dropped to 7.7%, millions of people have been out of work for 27 weeks or more. long-term unemployment benefits expire on december 29th. this is part of the cliff. it's going to be a tough holiday for a lot of families across the country. last week, we got to point out that the congressional budget office reported we could add 300,000 more jobs by extending unemployment benefits, which you
were talking about. it would cost $30 billion. now will republicans agree at least to extend the unemployment benefits or do they just not see any value in doing that. because they're just idealogically opposed to it. >> they only need about 25 republicans to bring to step over to do this. and you're seeing grover norquist's grip fall apart. we really need to do this. this is a really important thing to do to improve the lives of young people. one thing to keep in mind, it is younger workers who are being hurt the most. the job gains are heavily among 55 and over. we don't want to have a society where we get cynical young people where there is no point in playing by the rules because you won't get a job any way. >> why not go over the cliff? if we go over the cliff, we're talking solving the financial problems. but we run the risk of another recession. i believe personally that we might dip a little bit, but it
won't be anything like the first chart we showed. i mean, let's get rid of bush tax policy and start over. what about that? >> i think that that may well be a good idea. it's risky, ed. there's some risk as to what will happen. we don't know. but the fact is the government would then have all of this revenue. if it spends that revenue to create jobs and regardless of what the republicans say, government creates jobs all the time from school teachers like your mother to people like my brother who was a ditch digger, and you could get to work because he was out there cleaning the culvert out after a storm. we need a whole lot of jobs created. if the government gets all the revenue and we push it out the door, that will help the economy grow. >> we had an excellent economy under president clinton at those rates. what are we afraid of? >> in fact, more jobs were created in the eight years of bill clinton than the 20 years of reagan and the two bushes.
eight years. more than in the other 20. >> david cay johnston, great to have i don't with us tonight. thank you so much. >> you're welcome. there's a lot coming up in the next half hour. stay with us. >> are you proud of what americans for prosperity has achieved this year? >> you bet i am. we're going to do more too. >> the koch brothers money is hard at work in michigan. where union-busting republicans are ramming right-to-work into law. we'll go to lansing, michigan, for the latest. the push to pass the violence against women act is on. but fox news just doesn't get it. >> i think it skirts the issue that women are victims of violence all the time. >> should have guns. >> well, or make better decisions. and the supreme court announced today they will begin hearing cases on gay marriage. tonight professor of constitutional law jonathan turley on this historic civil rights battle.
welcome back to "the ed show." one thing about republicans, they never give up. there's an assault on middle class workers going on in the state of michigan. it's a replay of what happened in wisconsin. governor rick snyder, backed by the koch brothers is attempting to bust unions in the state where the modern labor movement began. on thursday, michigan republicans rammed through right-to-work legislation.
it prohibits paying union dues as a condition of employment, but won't apply to existing union contracts. the bill is expected to pass next week. this is a complete political stealth attack by governor snyder. he never campaigned on a right to work law and the bill passed with little or no debate. that's what is infuriating people. republicans used a dirty trick to avoid a recall vote on the law. they included spending in the bill because laws with spending can't be overturn bade citizen vote such as a referral. so this sneak attack on labor has people in michigan absolutely outraged. took a lot of calls on it on the radio show. protesters stormed the capital on thursday. police used pepper spray on protesters and eight arrests were made. meanwhile, governor snyder claims his right-to-work law isn't bad for unions. >> i do not view this as something against the unions. i support the unions in many regards. i support their right to organize.
i encourage the unions to be very proactive to presenting the best cases as to why someone would be joining a union. >> the governor is dead wrong. when right-to-work laws pass, union membership goes down along with workers' wages. this is part of the republican effort to dismantle the democratic base by union busting. let's bring in lansing mayor virg bernero tonight. good to have you with us. i know you're steaming about this. you just heard what the governor said. he wants to encourage the unions and encourages people to join. what do you make of that? >> please. it's the ultimate doublespeak. democracy is under attack. it's not hyperbolic to say democracy is under attack in michigan. to attack them, they are locking people out of the capital. the people's building. they are using state police. those weren't my police, by the way, who maced folks. they are using state police to block people from entering the the state capitol. i don't blame the individual officers.
their orders come from them. so it's an assault on democracy in so many ways. you talk about the fiscal cliff you had earlier in the show. many of our families are facing a fiscal cliff. the biggest fight, the biggest organization leading the fight to help working families has been the unions. that's been the equalizer. we know the top six states in unemployment are right-to-work states. so what are we doing in this economy to promote? what is the governor doing and the republicans to help grow the economy? it's got nothing to do with right to work. you're going to drive more people into poverty. it's senseless in every way. and of course, it's very underhanded as you said, the way they're going about it with no debate. >> they are doing this in a lame duck session. >> that's correct. people are out shopping, thinking about the holidays. and they're trying to do this in just a matter of days. they have suspended the rules and violated their own rules. not allowed any public debate. the speaker of the house has the temerity to say oh, this has been debated for years in michigan.
bull. let's talk about right to work. let's talk about what it means. it's right to work for less. it's completely undemocratic when the majority of people vote, you know what it is. i'm not sure they know what right to work means. it's a misnomer. the fact is it's anti-democratic. when the majority of workers say we want a union, there ought to be a union, and everybody should pay for it because everybody is going to benefit from it. snyder says everybody should have a choice. that's like me saying i don't like the president, i shouldn't have to pay my taxes. democracy doesn't work that way. it's a majority rule. >> the governor thinks right to work laws create jobs. here he is earlier today. >> i think this could be good for economic development for more and better jobs coming to michigan. we have watched what's going on in indiana. they have seen many more companies look at indiana, citing this as one of the factors that they did it in february. they could have thousands more jobs because they became a right to work state. >> mayor bernero of lansing,
michigan, your response to that? >> that's absolute crap. the fact is they have a governor who is working his butt off to bring back jobs to indiana. that makes a difference. i'm bringing jobs from italy and other places. and nobody asks about right to work. give me a break. the unions helped create the middle class. everybody knows it. the fact is that right-to-work states have worse education. they have worse performance, they have higher unemployment. the facts just don't back the governor up. this is a governor that prides himself on having the facts. >> uaw president bob king blamed the koch brothers for helping ram through this legislation. do you believe that? what role did the koch brothers, if any play in all of this? >> it's hard for me to know. i think there is a lot of big money involved. i see this prosperity america. i think that's their outfit. i see equipment and tents and so on. how much big money is flowing around, i don't know.
i think they're all over. ed, you have been on this before. we have to get the big corporate money out of politics. this is disgusting. this is a bastardization of our democracy that is taking place. i tell you, democracy is under attack. we have to get the big corporate money out. it's disgusting to think the koch brothers' long arm and big money can make it happen. if it can happen in michigan, it can happen anywhere. working people are under attack. i believe there will be repercussions. >> in what way? >> i think the governor is making a huge mistake. i believe -- i know '14 is a ways off. but look, this governor did not campaign on this. he said very little about the campaign about what he would do. but he said this wasn't on his agenda. right to work wasn't on his agenda. but now suddenly it is. i wonder why? i wonder what changed? so i think that there will be repercussions.
for almost 20 years, the violence against women act has received broad bipartisan support. even the most partisan right wingers didn't want to stand in the way of providing resources to combat domestic violence. that's in the past. the law is up for reauthorization and republicans are fighting it. vice president joe biden and house majority leader eric cantor are now in talks, trying to iron out differences and get the legislation passed before the end of the year. biden is the law's original sponsor. since the law's passage in 1994, domestic violence has dropped 58%. the senate has already passed a bipartisan bill with additional protections for undocumented immigrants, members of the lgbt community, and native americans. but republicans in the house
want those protections removed. i think the talks are serious but the prospects dim. the senate democratic leadership aide told the hill newspaper. house republicans don't seem to be learning the lessons of the campaign and election. meanwhile, sources tell "the huffington post" kantor is on board as long as one thing is stripped from the bill, a key protection for native american women. cantor is refusing to accept any added protections for native american women that would give expanded jurisdiction to tribes and is pressuring democrats to concede on that front. in the meantime, the crew over at fox news is giving advice on women can protect themselves against violence. get a gun. fox news contributor dana perino
and the defense of marriage act. proposition 8 is the 2008 ballot measure that made same-sex marriage illegal in the state of california. residents voted 52-48 to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. the 9th court of appeals struck down proposition 8 on the basis it stripped individuals of rights previously granted when same-sex marriages were permitted in the state. opponents of same-sex marriage appealed the ruling to the supreme court which will now review the decision. the court will also take up the defensive marriage act case which challenges a section of the law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman for the purposes of receiving federal benefits. this mean the highest court now has the opportunity to rule on whether gay americans have the same constitutional right to marry as hetero sexual americans. the court's decision to hear these cases comes as a series of election victories for same-sex
marriage. last month washington, maine, maryland became the first states to approve same-sex marriage ballot measures. they joined new york, connecticut, iowa, massachusetts, new hampshire, vermont and the d.c. which already allows same-sex marriages. they will expect to make a decision in june. i'm joined by jonathan turley. this of course, is the civil rights issue of our time. what are the justices dealing with? >> quite frankly, what they are dealing with is obviously an historic moment. but one that puts the legacy, not just of the court but the individual justices on the line. this is a court that has a rather checkered history with regard to the rights of gay and lesbian citizens. it was only in 2003 that the court ruled you couldn't
criminalize homosexuality. that's how recent that was. and we have seen an evolution of the court that's been a bit slower than society as a whole. remember in the earlier decision that lawrence turned over, or overturned. justice powell told his clerk that he had never met a gay person in his life. that clerk was gay but he didn't know it. but it shows how far the court has come. but the question is has it gone far enough? it could come down, e again, to justice kennedy. >> what will each side -- what legal arguments will be made? what will really stand out here that will catch the attention of the american people? what legal arguments will each side make? >> ed, is often the case, the initial arguments are not going to be the ones that citizens expect. this is an incredibly important series of cases. there were a number to choose from.
they selected two. those two cases do give them a very broad front on which to act. but they can avoid the critical question of the equal protection of gay and lesbian couples because both cases involve so-called standing questions. these are questions of whether these parties have a right to present this case. probably the most serious standing questions are on the doma case and windsor case. the cases being defended by a group of republican members and it is not clear that they have actual standing to bring the case. so if the court says you don't have standing, then the e lower court would prevail and windsor would prevail. >> how would the court's ruling affect marriage equality? >> it couldn't be more important. that case came for african-americans in 1954, i believe. this could be that moment. we're all hoping that it is. this country is an imperfect union by mere fact that we have not recognized the right of people in love to be married.
there are 120,000 couples in this country that are directly -- have their interests directly at stake. but it's not just them. the question is will this country embrace this fundamental human right? and i don't believe kennedy wants to be on the wrong side of history on that. >> this is the latest challenge to the constitutionty. is doma doomed? >> i think it is. there are four district courts saying it violated the rights of gay and lesbian couples. there are two court of appeals. so there's a heavy judicial pile of precedent here from the lower courts. the only question remains is one of standing. but i think that it really is losing steam. the questions going to be holings worth and whether they leave this question to states like california. and that could be a really painful decision if it goes the wrong way. saying it violated the rights of